The Lord answered, “I will be with you.” (Judges 6:16 NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, `Do not fear; I will help you.’ “ (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)
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GOD IS WITH US.
What an amazing thought! What an incredible concept! The creator of the universe, the One who designed all life forms and brought them into being, takes a personal interest in each one of us.
He says He is with us.
Jesus tells us that not even the lowly sparrow falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge and against His will (Matthew 10:29), so how much more precious in His sight is the life of men and women, whom He made “in our image, in our likeness” (Gen. 1:26 NIV). Why, even the hairs on our heads “are all numbered” (Luke 12:7 NIV).
In that most famous psalm, David exalts, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4 ESV).
In the Old Testament, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah proclaiming, “You will be my people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22 NLT).
Finally, at the end of the New Testament, the apostle John writes, “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them’” (Revelation 21:3 NLT).
THERE IS NO MORE SATISFYING feeling than knowing God Almighty loves us.
Consider this: God exists, and He made us. He did not need to make us. He did not need us to complete Him. He wants us.
How horrifying, how completely terrifying it would be if God were not a loving and merciful Being! Let’s not even start to think about what kind of an existence we would have, if that were the case.
Praise God that He is merciful and loving. Yes, He is just, as well, and we cannot forget that. He will repay evil for evil, and He will punish those who have refused to listen to Him and obey Him.
But it is His justice that makes His mercy so meaningful. His justice gives meaning to our lives — there is a system of rewards and punishment for how we live — but His mercy is what allows Him to forgive us over and over again, when we repent of our sins.
WITH SUCH A GREAT OFFER, why do so few people seem to recognize it or claim it for their lives?
What motivates the vast majority of people to forego the richness of a personal relationship with the Almighty in favor of “going it alone.”
The Bible says pride is the original sin. Pride is what led Eve, and then Adam, to ignore God’s warning against eating the “forbidden” fruit (Genesis 3:1-7).
The book of Proverbs tells us, “Arrogance causes nothing but trouble. It is wiser to ask for advice” (Proverbs 13:10 GNT). James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote a short book in the Bible full of good advice, one of which is this: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10 ESV).
Jesus even warned us against making the wrong choice. He told His disciples (and us) to “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matt. 7:13 NIV).
How tragically sad that so many of our fellow humans choose the broad road that leads to destruction instead of the narrow road that leads to glory and peace with God.
How sad it must have been for Jesus, knowing He came to earth to die for our sins, to utter those words, proclaiming that most of the people He created and loves are not interested in choosing Him back.
ONE OF OUR LORD’S most endearing traits is that He is “long-suffering.” Some translations say “patient,” or “slow to anger.”
One of my life verses testifies to the Lord’s patience with even those who, like me, are stubborn:
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NASB).
The Bible is clear, however, that “patience” does not last forever.
“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom. 2:5 NLT).
“For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” (Rev. 6:17 NIV).
For those of us who do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, God spares us from that wrath.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 ESV).
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9 ESV).
Listen to these comforting words, spoken by Jesus Himself:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17 NIV).
God truly is with us, so much so that He comes looking for us (Gen. 3:9), stands patiently at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to let Him in (Rev. 3:20), and guarantees, promises, and covenants that He will provide us an eternity with Him if we just turn our hearts to Him in repentance (Acts 2:21).
What an amazing deal that is. What an amazing God He is!
PRAYER: O Loving and Merciful Father, Your goodness is well beyond anything we could ever imagine or hope for. Your unmerited grace is more than we could ever earn or deserve. Lord, we love You, we honor You, we praise You. Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. In His precious name we pray. Amen
- What does God’s promise to be with us mean to you? Do you realize that His promise is good only for those who are “saved” through His Son’s blood? Salvation is a free gift of God for those who repent of their sins. Is this something you want in your life? If not, why not?
- Do you instinctively hesitate whenever anyone mentions God might have a plan for your life? Are you unsure you want someone else laying a claim on you? What if He wants you to do something you absolutely refuse to do. Is that a real concern for you? What if He has prepared you for the task? Does that change your answer?
- When God tells us He is patient with us, do you wonder if He ever gets around to punishing the evildoers and rewarding the good ones? Do you think He might be too patient to suit you? Can you learn anything from His patience? Would you like to?